20 Of The Most Gruesome Methods Of Execution From History

People often dream of living in the past. But history lovers note it wasn’t all as romantic as it might seem. The past was often a brutal, violent place, where the slightest legal or social infraction could result in a painful and gruesome death. Over the last few hundred years, most Western nations have done away with capital punishment altogether. But in the past, the goal was often to inflict as much pain as possible upon the person being executed.

There were a variety of reasons for this; some of them political, some of them religious, some of them for purposes of intimidation. Whatever the reasons, the execution methods of the past sure were grisly. Read on to discover history’s most gruesome methods of execution.


Scaphism (also known as “the boats”) was an ancient Persian method of execution, whereby the condemned was fastened to the interior of a small rowboat or hollowed-out tree trunk. Only the victim’s arms, legs, and head protruded from the boat, which was then set adrift in a swamp.

The victim was force fed milk and honey until they developed severe diarrhea. More honey was slathered all over the victim’s body, with particular emphasis on the eyes, ears, and mouth.

The honey attracted insects, which would breed in the victim’s feces and eventually, inside their gangrenous skin. Death followed days or weeks of dehydration, starvation, and delirium.

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